University of Iowa Venture School Business Model Competition Winners
(Des Moines) – $20,000 was awarded to three winning University of Iowa Venture School Alumni teams. The 12 teams from all over the state of Iowa pitched their newest business models to a group of investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs at the UI Pappajohn Education Center in Des Moines.
First prize, $10,000 was awarded to UpCraftClub and founder Elizabeth Caven. UpCraftClub is fundamentally changing the way sewing and crafting patterns are found and sold.
Second prize, $6,000 was awarded to College Recruit U and founder Julie Kent. College Recruit U is a platform that engages and rewards high school students as they go through the college search and application process.
Third prize, $4,000 was awarded to Goquets and co-founders Lyndsay Clark and Shawn Harrington. Goquets provides an easy way to order flowers online when time is your most valuable asset.
“Venture School trains entrepreneurs to connect with real customers to validate their business model, increasing the likelihood of success,” says David Hensley, the University of Iowa’s Associate Vice President for Economic Development and Executive Director of the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. “When a team comes into the program, we help guide them through early stage market research, provide mentors with real world experience, and then connect them with other resources, enabling them to more confidently launch their business.”
The curriculum for Venture School—developed by the National Science Foundation at Stanford University and the University of California – Berkeley, allows entrepreneurs to evaluate their business model with real world engagement. By building customer relationships which test the strength of the team’s product or idea, entrepreneurs can modify their products before the investment stage of their venture.
The University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) is committed to being a national leader in teaching and supporting innovation and entrepreneurial development. JPEC is proud to play an important role in the development of Iowa-based technology and high-growth start-up companies. JPEC and its Venture School program helps entrepreneurs by accelerating the startup process and increasing their odds of success. UI Venture School is the state of Iowa’s only National Science Foundation I-Corps Site.